Recently, I have been living in Roanoke, Virginia, working as the summer photo intern at The Roanoke Times. I have already been here for five weeks, and will be here for five more. I have made many new friends, and turned 21 on June 29th. It is bizarre how fast time moves. I want to keep adding on weeks, as opposed to counting down. It feels like just yesterday I was moving into my new place in Southwest Roanoke and getting a tour from my friend and fellow "co-worker/ summer mentor," Joel Hawksley, during Memorial Day weekend. I have been working the daily grind at the newspaper alongside four other photographers: Joel, Rebecca Barnett, Stephanie Klein-Davis and Matt Gentry (also Ryan Stone , Becca's fiance, deserves a huge shout out for helping me out too). My schedule is currently Tuesday through Saturday; there are definitely no complaints about my experiences or the way the Times treats me. I am so happy to have the opportunity to take photographs daily, again. In the next few weeks, I plan on trying to break out of the "visual story-telling" slump that I feel I have been in. I want to get closer to people when I photograph them (physically and emotionally). I want to continue to develop my "personal" style and vision, whatever that is. I want to tell stories, as opposed to leaving from an assignment with surface level images. I want to connect. I want to grow.
A good friend of mine recently said something on the NPPA Visual Student - Emerging Talent blog that really resonated with me:
"Another thing is that there are highs and lows in photojournalism. I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t questioned their career choice at some point. There have been a couple times where I was ready to completely give up on photojournalism and find something else to do with my life. I’ve gone months feeling like I can’t take a good photo to save my life. But I’ve found that by continuously pushing myself outside of my comfort zone, I always make it out of those slumps and make some of my favorite pictures soon after. We didn’t fall in love with an easy career, so we shouldn’t expect it to be smooth sailing the whole way." - Adam Wolfbrandt
I have been feeling so stuck, but with a little pushing I hope my next five weeks in Roanoke will be a meaningful period of growth.